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I just discovered -- figured out, really! -- that my mom has been flushing her underwear down the toilet in her assisted living apartment. She has dementia, but this is a new development. I have provided a basket for her for her dirty underwear and other clothes, but it is empty. I told her this simply was not acceptable, that she would cause major harm to the plumbing system, but I'm so afraid she'll continue to do this. I do her laundry for her, and up until now, this has been working. Does anyone have any experience with this or suggestions as to how to prevent her from continuing to do this?

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She uses a commode so its not like I can't smell it but it is a bit gross having to separate it out - I think I will just not recycle that bin any more. Its an improvement on her not using tissue but wearing gloves and using her hands to clean herself which we had for a week and then she returned to normality (well her version of normality). I hate this phase thing. One moment perfectly able to do the right thing, the next moment off at a tangent. You just always have to second guess them and thats nigh on impossible.
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Oh my OhJude. That can be dangerous. I think I would have to start supervising her in the bathroom each time to ensure she discards the tissue properly. Can you lock the bathroom, so she has to alert you to get in? I'd explain that the doctor says it has to be this way for about a month. And then just keeping repeating it as time goes on. So, when she starts to toss it, you can remind her to do it properly.
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I have the reverse problem - Mum throws soiled tissues (and I don't mean wet ones) into the open tissue bin. Its not a major problem because I live with her but it is so gross having to fish it out - we operate a recycling policy here in UK so tissue is recyclable - faeces are not! (well they are but that's a different story!)
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People who can no longer follow instructions are not going to follow a sign. They can't follow instructions! That ability is gone from their brain and not coming back.

This kind of behavior is a sign that change is upon you and it's not going to go away or get better. More is on the way so hang on. I would unplug the stove if I were you.

Also seek a higher level of care immediately before a crisis is making decisions for you.
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I would NOT have her in an assisted living APARTMENT.
When we looked for my hubby's MOM, they suggested that to us, we looked at several places. The apartment thing is NOT a good idea (she has dementia).

She is now in a great place shared room with someone else.
That way she is monitored. in an apartment she would have either fallen or not been able to do things alone on her own.

I wonder if where she is, could you move her to another floor where it is more of a "nurse assisted environment"???
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I guess it depends on the level of dementia, but I never got far with anything other than direct supervision. My loved one would forget to read notes, even those right in front of her. She would forget to wipe and even though I wrote a note by the chain in the rest room to PULL FOR HELP, she would forget to read it. Soon, I had to place her in Memory Care Assisted Living, where she gets more assistance.
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Im in need of somilae answer. My mom constantly puts too much tissue in the toliet. I've bought cheaper tissue, thinking it would go down easier, but nope, I've had to call a plumber twice since she moved in. What do you do?
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Mom is 91 with dementia and is very hard to correct. Big signs are good. Maybe right next to the toilet. In red write "Put underwear in basket NOT in Toilet." Just like you would with a special needs child. Dementia does better with visual clues.
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You could also disconnect the toilet handle from the flush mechanism in the toilet tank, but that would mean you would have to be there daily to check it. I agree with the others, it sounds as though she needs more supervision.
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The hat sounds like a good idea, but it might be a temporary solution. She may be progressing to a point that she needs more assistance and supervision. I'd discuss it with the facility so I would know what they can handle and what future plans you might need to make. Trying to get her to stop isn't going to work.
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You can put a "hat" in the toilet. It's a little plastic thingy that is used to catch urine. It's used in hospitals but you can buy one at a specialty drugstore. It just sits in the toilet and will need to be emptied but hopefully your mom won't be able to figure out that she can remove it and put her underwear in the toilet although you may have to fish the underwear out of the hat.

(It's a little plastic thing with measurements on it)
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Unfortunately, you cannot correct the dementia patient. They just don't remember what to do. Talk to the Head Nurse and see if they can handle this or if it is time for mom to move to a higher level of care.
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